Exercise Induced Heart Attack
There’s been a lot of attention from the media this week about heart attacks as the numbers this week have skyrocketed.
Why the increase?
Well first off, I believe people’s habits are starting to catch up to them. Baby boomers are starting to see the effects of neglecting their health for years. By bad health habits I’m talking about poor nutritional choices, stimulants, weight gain, psychological stress, toxins followed by poor exercise choices.
All the habits I just listed cause stress to the body and stress causes inflammation. You need to understand that stress plays a very important role in someone having a heart attack. Some authors like Malcolm Kendrick go as far as to say that stress is the primary cause of heart disease.
The right type of exercise in the right quantities lowers systemic inflammation, while too much of the wrong kind (or even too much of the right kind) increases it. Both sedentary living and extreme overtraining (combined with a high stress lifestyle) are linked to inflammation and heart disease, and I think poor management of exercise-related inflammation is the key in both situations.
One way exercise can protect against atherosclerosis (and therefore heart disease) is by increasing shear stress on the arterial walls, which causes the endothelium to become less permeable (less accepting of oxidized LDL particles) and produce more nitric oxide (a potent inhibitor of LDL oxidation). You can think of exercise, then, not just as training for your muscles, but also for your arterial walls. It’s enough of an inflammatory stressor to induce an adaptive response. Of course, too much shear stress can be too inflammatory and might actually cause atherosclerosis to progress.
The message here is that exercise can be a double edge sword if prescribed wrong. If heart disease is something that is worrisome for you, your best to seek the advice from a professional personal trainer like myself or anyone at Free Form Fitness for that matter that can assess you properly and create a program that eases you into the right type and the right amount of exercise.